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let my people go surfing

A week ago yesterday, I woke up in warm, peaceful, palm tree riddled Nicaragua:

Nicaragua Palm Trees

It was glorious. That day was my travel home day from a leadership development program I participated in called LeaderSurf. By the time planes, trains, and automobiles got me to my place in Charlotte around midnight and I opened my windows and balcony door, the city had shut down, and all was quiet and dark. Late night Sunday night transition was lucky timing for me as I was already feeling overwhelmed by the ding, ding, dings on my phone after choosing to be unplugged for 10 days. I woke up Monday morning to get my run in and was met on the streets with screeching, honking, red-light running cars…and before it was even 7:30AM. This morning was exactly the same. Cement city, a mad dash rush before the business day even started, and drivers looking fired up. (I’m not sure this fired up meant anything excited or happy about where they were going, either.)

You could say I miss the Nica Life.

Back to my stint in learning paradise:

LeaderSurf is based on experiential learning. It focuses on enhancing leadership capability by taking business leaders out of their comfort zones to teach them more about themselves. My time in Nicaragua and in this program was one of the best times in my adult life. I learned a ton:

Business Challenge

That’s me presenting my business challenge looking very serious. Being in the hot seat isn’t easy! OK, that’s a fib, because this is where the hot seat is:

Tiki Classroom

Tiki Classroom

…now that’s what I call a classroom!

Founder Brian, the Buena Onda Resort staff, and the surf instructors were all wonderful hosts and teachers:

Buena Onda Staff

Brian LeaderSurf

LeaderSurf Instructors

Surf Lessons

…the views were gorgeous:

Mag Rock

Buena Onda Resort

Buena Onda Resort

Buena Onda Resort

Buena Onda Resort

Nicaragua Sunset

…and I had a total blast, surfing, and wiping out:

Surfing Nicaragua

Surfing Nicaragua

Surfing Nicaragua

This one is my oh my god I just learned how to surf and I have no idea how to control this board yet, so please don’t make me run into my new friend, look:

Surfing Nicaragua

Later in the day we were both so excited we were up we didn’t realize we were heading right towards each other until the last second. Abandon ship!

Surfing Nicaragua

We didn’t event come close to hitting each other, but our faces?! No matter how many times I look at some of our group photos I cannot stop laughing. Donald, the photographer who was with us all week really knows how to capture a moment.

Surfing NicaraguaSurfing Nicaragua

Best? We got to give back:

LeaderSurf Community Project

The community we visited doesn’t have a source of clean drinking water. We brought 16 water filtration systems that we helped show these community members how to use. One of the filters can provide 100 gallons of clean drinking water per day:

Community Project: LeaderSurf

LeaderSurf Community Project

I won’t ever look at or drink a glass of water the same again. Here’s a portion of an email I wrote to my fellow LeaderSurfers the morning after I got home:

Late last night after getting back, the last thing I unpacked was my backpack and in the very last pocket I found the tiny round piece of a bucket that one of you had taken out to install one of the water filtration systems and handed to me on the community project day. That piece now has a home on my desk. Right after I found that piece I poured myself a glass of water out of the refrigerator on my way to bed and had an unexpected moment seeing that clean water flow out so easily. I will never forget it. After that I couldn’t sleep all night. Needless to say, lots more perspective than I ever imagined after this trip. I am so incredibly thankful!

LeaderSurf Community Project

2 days after getting back, I had a meeting at a local brewery. I swear when I saw this on the wall behind the bar, the world went silent for a minute and my jaw dropped to the floor as if I had never laid eyes on anything like it before:

Water on Tap

A water tap. Bottomless. Just hanging out, free-flowing, clear, and safe, for all to enjoy. I’ve been to that brewery before, but had never noticed this. Oh how eyes are so much more wide open after traveling to a new place that doesn’t have the everyday amenities I do.

We all brought school supplies for the kids:LeaderSurf Community Project

One of my most favorite parts, was handing out blue lollipops. It was like sharing a piece of myself. To me they always represent a small moment of magic. Smiles all around:

Giving blue lollipops

LeaderSurf Community Project

Wish I/we could’ve done more? Yes. Motivated to give and appreciate now more than ever. Yes. Living even more consciously than I was before? Absolutely.

I made what I hope will be some lifelong friendships with the other participants.

Sunset Reflections

When you have an adventure like this and all cards go on the table, the playing field equals. It’s the perfect way to step outside yourself and let others in. There’s an instant perspective shift that happens that’s like a new window to every part of your life. It’s as if you bond in an instant with the people around you even if they were perfect strangers the day before. You realize (especially in the silent moments alone) that the world is so much bigger than you ever imagined:

Great learning environment

Sunset Reflections

Sunset Reflections

Our Sunset Reflection times were in a beautiful spot for us to share what we learned each day. It felt so good to actually be IN the moments. I’m so glad I committed to going unplugged. I need to do that more!

Coming right off this LeaderSurf program and into my 6th annual Play It Forward event is like riding this totally indescribable wave (no pun intended) of positive energy. A serious force to be reckoned with! The passion I had before, coupled with the buckets of life and work lessons I learned during my week surfing, will help me be a better leader moving forward. I feel like I already am!

In case it’s not completely obvious, I’m a huge fan of LeaderSurf. The experience I had goes unmatched. I wish there were more programs out there like it, I’d be signing up left and right! Maybe I’ll have to create my own?! (Wink.)

Staying active and challenging yourself to anything outside of the environment you’re used to, is the fastest route to your truth. Be open to alternative ways of learning. Be vulnerable. Encourage the people around you to do things that light them on fire. Stay on fire yourself. Share. Be selfless. Always try new things, and never stop having fun…even when you’re working!

#ExperientialLearning #LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #ServantLeadership

*If you don’t recognize the reference in my title, it’s to this this great book I’d recommend to anyone. Here’s the Author Yvon Chouinard on NPR‘s How I Built This, too. So good!

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attached to people, not things

I might have to start crediting my friend Michele for my whole life. (Kidding Mom and all my other amazing peeps, just trying to be funny here!) Michele is constantly sending news clips, tips, articles, blog posts, links- you name it, attached with “worth the read” or “read this!” notes. They are always on point with where my head is and what I’m interested in. Did I mention she introduces me to fabulous people too, and throws a damn good party? This woman is giving me a run for my money.

(I have to side note here that I’m just pinching myself at this point in life. I’m 38 and I’m surrounded by SO MANY incredible gal pals, near and far, who are just ridiculously badass and so good to me I can’t even believe it. I never thought girls could be this easy, fun, and no bs. My tribe rules! I LOVE YOU, LADIES!)

Anyway, this just popped in from Michele. She knows me well. A couple of my favorite lines:

~ “The best way to remember is to “DO.”

~ “Figure out the 10-15 things you want in your bag before you die tomorrow.”

~ “This is the problem with self-help books. They seem to be written by someone on a pedestal giving advice without having any blemishes.”

…but the best in this above article is his last question and answer.

Thanks for the read Michele! And all of them, always. And! To all I’m so lucky enough to have in my ultimate girl tribe, like 80 year-old Grazia:

Grazia Walker & Diane Peacock

…yes EIGHTY with that hot pink hair and fashion sense! – thank you for continuing to help me feel young and energized, so I can keep kicking all those doors to laughter and joy wiiiiiiiiiide open.

#NeverWaitForPermission #Freedom #FindYourTribe

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mile high lap dancing

Before getting on an airplane yesterday morning:

Plane Rides

…to a destination with warm sun and palm trees (yahoo!), and before knowing I’d be giving not one, but two free lap dances to that person in the middle seat who refused to actually get up and out for just a quick second so I could make it to my coveted window spot, I bought this book:

Jen Sincero

I’ve been eagerly waiting for this read. Jen Sincero is hilarious and I love her no bs writing style. Her last book made it to a favorites list that I posted about here back in the fall of 2015. I’ve managed to crank through a good amount of pages over the past 24 hours even though I’m still slightly disturbed about Middle Seat Molly not getting out of the way for me yesterday in flight. (You know what I’m talking about; Oh, ok. You’re not going to stand up, weirdo? Great. Awesome. Let me just desperately suck my whole body in as I best attempt to not touch any of my parts with your parts because there’s a whopping three inches to move in row 26. Thanks. I appreciate it. I hope you feel fabulous right now.)

Anyways.

My sweet little fine point Sharpie pen is off to the races:

Badass

Change is fun

No more excuses

Badass Book

I dig this book just as much as Jen’s last one. I recommend picking it up. Once again I’m slightly pissed at myself for not writing nearly as much as I want to, because I’m reading far too much lately I feel like I could’ve written myself.

Lessons for today?

1.) What the eff are you waiting for, again? (Yeah. That’s to both of us.)

2.) Take care of yourself before you attempt to take care of anyone else.

3.) If you have the middle seat, don’t act like there’s ever enough space for another human to scootch by. Get yo lazy ass up and let the people pass in peace.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

#LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad #TodayIsTheDay #ChangeIsGood

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check yourself before you wreck yourself

Thanks to modern technology, this was my office for a couple days this week:

Beach Life

There hasn’t been nearly enough of the above in my life during the past few months, which is just totally not cool, and pretty much against everything I stand for, so sand in toes and connecting with a few important people had to happen.

Needed it. Did it. Wanted to smack myself for not doing it sooner. Translation; Check myself (breathe/give myself some space/take a “minute”) before I wrecked myself (exhaustion, frustration, etc. – that beast that creeps making us feel at times like crispy fried bacon.)

In Googling the title for this post just now, this link popped up. I dig no bs writers who aren’t afraid to throw a little weight in truth around, and the occasional f-bomb:

Get it

We will all learn eventually how to take better care of ourselves (without feeling guilty), so we can in turn be better at taking care of others. We will all learn eventually how to take breaks (without feeling guilty) so we can remember who we are and be badass in our personal and professional lives.

No more crispy fried bacon. No more victim. Much more creating a life that has a shit ton of joy everyday.

How do you check out so you can check back in?

#StepBackMoveForward #Perspective #HappyLife

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stop screwing, start doing

This TED Talk popped in my inbox this morning. (Thanks, M!) I watched it as I sipped my coffee on the porch, cheering YES! and laughing through the whole video.

This woman is awesome. I’m a big fan of people who cut straight through the bs:

TED Talk

This makes me think of one of the books I just wrote about in my top 5 read this now list; The War of Art. I wholeheartedly agree with the theory that every single one of us has incredibly special things about us and unique ideas that can change the world.

Let’s all keep forcing the covers off to spend our days going for what we want.

“Get outside! That’s where the magic is.”

#Jump #CarpeDiem #BeMoreThanJustFine

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read these books

Run, don’t walk- to your nearest library or bookstore to get these books:

Great Books

Can’t run or drive? Log onto Amazon.com and buy them, walk, or ask your friend to pick them up for you.

Seriously.

Pre-2015 my book habits were terrible. My attention span for getting through a whole one was like hiking Everest; arduous, painful, and seeming impossible. A racing mind, not finding good reads or whatever the reason, I was the queen of get through the first 50 pages, 10 times, and throw a book back in the pile. Based on how much I love these 5, I’m thinking that I was ready to receive some good information this go-around, and I really dig eff-bombing, no bs, tell-ha-like-it-is, raw, do your own thing writers and life “do-ers” like the above authors.

I gobbled up each of these paperbacks this spring/summer at lightning speed. (A close runner up I dig from recently is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. You might want to add that one to your list, too.) I think I’ve found my any and all occasion, any age- go kick life’s ass gift package! (Just add ribbon and It’s a party.)

If you need some inspiration: READ THESE BOOKS.

If you need a reality check: READ THESE BOOKS.

If you’re feeling bummed about anything: READ THESE BOOKS.

If you don’t think It’s important to do what you love: READ THESE BOOKS.

If you want a good laugh: READ THESE BOOKS.

If you’re feeling like you’re living in the drone zone: READ THESE BOOKS.

If you don’t have the slightest idea about what you should do with “the rest of your life”: READ THESE BOOKS

If people tell you you’re crazy because you have a passion or idea that seems a little off-kilter, kindly tell them to shut up and: READ THESE BOOKS. (Then give them your copies when you’re finished, those people will need them.)

If you’re doubting you are capable of going, doing, being, seeing anything: READ THESE BOOKS.

If you need a break from the life gerbil wheel: READ THESE BOOKS.

If you’re searching for a bit of freedom: READ THESE BOOKS.

If you want to feel alive: READ THESE BOOKS.

If you want to learn about 7 billion things about yourself and all that’s possible when you’re ready: READ THESE BOOKS.

You get the idea.

Tiny Beautiful Things, is by far the biggest and best punch in the gut out of all of these,. As I mentioned in another recent post here- one of the best things I have ever read. (If you read none but 1 of these…please choose Tiny Beautiful Things.)

It might sound just a little bit mad that a few books could’ve changed the course of my life, or propelled me into a place I’ve always wanted to go much faster than I was getting there on my own- but that’s what I feel like happened to me this spring/summer because of these good reads. Perhaps it was just some kind of stars aligning or magic or something else. Either way I’ll take it, and happily pass onto you these words on paper, that’ve shifted many things to the positive in my everyday.

Give them a whirl and tell me what you think.

#GetLost #Think #BooksAndBlueLollipops

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headin’ down to the bayou

There’s a Cajun in my life, so we’re heading down to where crawfish is a main food group, and hot sauce is believed to be the only condiment needed.

ROAD TRIP!

After a night in the tent at the Jellystone Campground (HA! Yes, for real) where the bathroom and shower doors were on lockdown, we stopped for breakfast feeling nice n’ greasy at the Georgia Express Diner:

BLR Breakfast

…where couldn’t wait to take a bite:

Breakfast inTthe South

“Y’alls” were swirling around this place like the Tasmanian devil on his fastest day, and we were out the door filled with pancakes, cheesy-egg biscuits, omelette’s, grits, toast, and too much coffee for $12.89:

Breakfast in The South

Our waitress fully fit the southern stereotype, sweet as pie as you’d imagine. Mornings like these I absolutely love; The randomness on the road and connecting with strangers hearing their stories in a place unfamiliar.

Tent camping, cheap diner breakfast, and learning about how other people live. Ahhh…travel.

How do you find adventure?

#RoadTrip #Georgia #Diner

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read this

I dig this portion:

“There’s no reason for you to be contemplating the cosmic significance of your life while sitting on your couch all day eating Doritos. Rather, you should be getting off your ass and discovering what feels important to you.”

…of this article. Well, I dig every portion of this piece, actually. What an awesome and truthful bunch of words. Thanks for being a no bullshit writer, Mark Manson! Oh if the world had more like you.

I hope if you are reading this, you will pass it on.

What feels important to you?

#ThingsThatMatter #Truth #TodayIsTheDay

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